Hope Star from Hope, Arkansas on August 19, 1974 · Page 12
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Hope Star from Hope, Arkansas · Page 12

Hope, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Monday, August 19, 1974
Page 12
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t'age 411 E (AKK.) STAK Monday, August 19, 1974 RECORDS The Ellington Band Sounds Good By MARY CAMPBELL AP Newsfcatures Writer The Ellington Band is together, touring, cutting a record and sounding good. Mercer Ellington, 55, is leading. A talk with this only Child of the late Duke Ellington is very reassuring for a person concerned with the well-being of.the band. Ellington obviwafy, kflrirfe music, knows what;The 1 is doing, knows how to make decisions, is sensitive to people's jtcelings, has a sense: or tt)Ba>0f and is unpretentious andplteflW- The funeral of DuKe* Ejltng- ton, who had led a band since the mid-1920s, played piano and composed nobody -knows how many pieces of music, was May 27. The very next 'lay the band left to keep an engagement in Bermuda, will) Billy Taylor playinu piano. Ellington says, "1 wasn't emotionally In shape to make announcements about each song and short q ! glail hand. The best I could dm was organize things and see they were carried on U) a perjljairMashiOn; "There w;eri feptn^: differences of opinioflM about, who should be up front. Someone thought it should be a, personality like Duke Ellington. Some people thought It should be a piano player. I kept my ears open and listened to everything everybody had to say. The time came when I had to put the information together and make sense out of it. To listen any further would be indecisive and we wouldn't have any progress made," he adds. "I found the best piano player I could find who would come to work with us — Lloyd Mayers — and the best bassist — Larry Ridley. That is what pulled the band, together. I knew Lloyd from organ records he had made, when I was a disc jockey on WLIB. Lately he has been accompanying Sammy Davis and other singers. Larry had been doing a lot of studio work. They were both able to make more money than they make with me. I got them on the sole principle that with me they will be more musically employed." The band's bassist, Joe Benjamin, was killed in a car accident in January. "I war, sitting in the band at first and the music wasn't cofn- infi out with any degree of expression. People were making suggestions about what would make it sound better. I knew what I had to do; I had to fire about four guys. One thing 111 say about the band now — I d like for it to stay exactly as it is. They're wonderful guys — disposition, attitude, they have clean habits and they're great musicians." About five of the new members are 23. Ellington says, "The only trouble with having a young band is that they go in for all sorts of fantastic activities __ in Bermuda they were MERGER ELLINGTON water skiing and going in for bicycle boats, motor bikes, golf, swimming and tennis. Girls I could have understood. The result was that by the time we were ready to go on, they were ready to take a nap. They left Bermuda the healthiest bunch of nonplaying musicians I ever had my hands on." Devotees of the band's veterans will be reassured to know that trumpeter Cootie Williams, In the band 1929-40 and since 1962, and baritone saxophonist Harry Carney, who joined in 1927, are still blowing. Trombonist Lawrence Brown is going to rejoin. Ellington says, "I feel that the day Lawrence Brown enters the band should be at a smart affair; I'd like to time it so it is during some gala occasion." There are now 15 musicians in the band, plus singer Anita Moore and trumpeter-leader Ellington. Ellington says that at first he thought he'd spend this summer getting the band in shape. "Because of the amount of coverage given Pop's funeral, people were interested in whether the band would go on. We were concerned with losing people's awareness of the band's existence in waiting too long. And then the number of well-wishers who wanted the band to stay intact so the music of Duke Ellington would live took on another meaning. It wasn't just a matter of the show must go on." Columbia Records has just come out with a two-LP set, "The World of Duke Ellington," reissues from 1946-47, which had been scheduled to come out three years ago. Fantasy will soon bring out an album of Duke Ellington piano solos and RCA soon will release the '•Third Sacred Concert," recorded live in Westminster Abbey last fall. Ellington says, "We're producing our own record now, in the same method Pop used to do. From time to time he would feel the band had a particula; edge on it and he would go into a studio to catch it and take advantage of the sound he was getting. "As tight as the old band used to be, you could tell when they'd been off three or four days. That's basically why Pop never liked to take days off. Two or three days could wreak havoc with the unity of the band. All of them are strong in their own stylistic ways but very different from each other. With two or three days apart and them practicing by themselves in their homes they'd start pulling away from the general concept of what makes the effect jell." Ellington has several projects going. His son, Edward Kennedy Ellington II, who studies guitar, is cleaning out the base- SPIRITED ADVERTISING Hagorstown, Md. one might .say of this sign in merit of the building housing the Ellington office, to see what music, maybe unpublished, unperformed or long lost, is there. Also, there is a search for tapes made at recording sessions and never released. A Rutgers professor is transcribing the trio part to "Kinda Dukeish" and will do more; Ellington wants to get in touch with Lena Home, whose late husband made a hobby of transcribing Duke Ellington piano solos. Duke Ellington also wrote three notebooks of music this spring in the hospital. Ellington has hired his wife's brother as road manager, which he used to be. "That means I can put the pencil back in my hand." His best- known composition is "Things Ain't What They Used To Be," but the band now is playing his "Blue Serge" and "The Living Room." Ellington wants the band to play some of the less-often- heard compositions by his father. He'll play an entirely different program each night when the band plays two nights in the same town. He wants to bring back some use of the plunger mute and a full tone from the tenor sax. He brought Maurice Simon from California; Simon was the featured tenor sax player when Ellington managed Cootie Williams's band. Ellington tenor player Paul Gonsalves died in May. —Slow down at sundown. Parallax story — By Dick Kleiner HOLLYWOOD - NEA) "The Parallax View" is certain to be one of the most controversial films of the year. People will certainly read things into it, things about the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert Kennedy. But the man who made the film, director Alan J. Pakula, states flatly thatJ'No message was intended." The film purports to show a major conspiracy behind the assassination of a U.S. senator, a man much like Bobby Kennedy. It, therefore, gives aid and encouragement to those who have long held that the murders of John and Robert Kennedy were, in fact, conspiracies. Pakula would like the world to know his movie is "a tall story," that's all. He is not, nor has he ever been, an advocate of any theory about •the assassinations. "As far as the conspiracy theory is concerned," he says, "nobody really knows. Certainly I don't. I would have to classify myself as an agnostic about the conspiracy theory. "If there is a point at all to the film, other than to entertain, it is simply to make everybody a little more suspicious. I like to think that when you see the film, you're a little more suspicious of the person you came in with." Inevitably, there is a comparison, at least in terms of -content, with an earlier movie, "Executive Action," which was even more strident in its advocacy of the conspiracy theory. (There can be no comparison with the respective artistry of the films. Parallax" is infinitely superior.) Pakula says he knew about "Executive Action," but made a point not to read the script or see the movie. Even though "Executive Action" was released long before "Parallax," they were made at roughly the same time. Actually, they began shooting within a week of each other. But Pakula is a slow and painstaking workman, so View' is great but only that ALAN J. PAKULA: One in a year and a half. his film took much longer to shoot and to edit. "I think," he says, "that I spend more time in the editing room than most directors spend shooting." He says he sometimes wishes he could speed himself up. He would like to make more movies — "Parallax" is only his fourth film — but his slowness mitigates that. "Where some directors can do two or three pictures a year," he says, "I'm lucky if I can do one in a year and a half. It's too bad because there are so many films I want to do but I can't change my habits." He's now preparing — and he spends a long time in preparation, too — a far-out farce. He admits this is prob- ably a reaction to ttie intensity of "Parallax." v "Working on that one," he says, "I got my screws so tight that I need to loosen them and doing a far-out farce is one way to do it." (NEWSPAPEH ENTERPRISE ASSN.) The old farm subsidy system with acreage restrictions and government purchases to keep prices up was ended Aug. 10,1973. A new program set target prices" for wheat, feed grains and cotton, and farmers would get aid when prices fell below the target. It was felt farmers would plant more to meet food shortages, have an assured income and, with current high prices, the program would cost taxpayers nothing, The World Almanac notes. If your latest electric bill is high, JULY 20,105< JULY 21,102° remember July. These are trying times. You're trying to stay comfortable at home. We're trying to provide you al! the electric energy you need We re having to pay more to produce electric energy, and naturally our higher fuel costs are reflected on yourjDills. ^^ ^ ^^ ^^ bj||8 entjrely Qn hjgher fye| costs. You're using a lot more electricity. Remember last month? Twenty-seven days during July temperatures went above 90 degrees. Three days the highs were more than 100 degrees. And on two days new all-time high temperature records were set. To stay comfortable under those conditions your air conditioning system workea a lot harder than usual. This increased usage is going to show up on your latest electric bill. It all boils down to the fact that the comforts you enjoy at home will coat you more this year. The not weather is still with us, so here are two ways you can reduce high summertime bills. One, set your thermostat at the highest level at which you can be comfortable. Two, can us about our budget billing plan. It can be a big help to your family budget by leveling out the payments you send AP&L to about the same amount each month of the year. JULY22,104< MIDDLE SOUTH UTILITIES SYSTEM

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